Danish Language Blog

Christmas Countdown! Posted by on Nov 30, 2014 in Traditions


(Photo courtesy of Susanne Nilsson at Flickr, CC.)

I dag er det første søndag i advent. (Today’s the first Sunday of Advent.) That means that there are still three Sundays left – og så er det jul (and then it’s Christmas)! Mange danske familier (many Danish families) celebrate this by lighting the first out of four stearinlys (stearin candles) on a special adventskrans (Advent wreath). Every Sunday from now on yet another candle will join the party, with all four candles blazing on the last Sunday before jul. When your faithful blogger was a barn (child), we used to gather around adventskransen to sing julesange (Christmas carols). While I don’t think this is very common in Danmark, I guess there must be at least a handful of families keeping this tradition [trahdeeSHAWN]!

Hvorfor (why) is there so much fuss about Christmas in Denmark? Well, if you lived in a flat, windswept country with lots of dårligt vejr (bad weather) – not to mention de mørke, kolde vintre (the dark, cold winters) – wouldn’t you glæde dig til (look eagerly forward to) a bit of togetherness and celebration? (And that’s not to mention maden og gaverne, the food and the gifts! After all, Danes have to keep their reputation as livsnydere, ”enjoyers of life”!)

The real nedtælling (countdown) to julen (’the’ Christmas) began weeks ago. Already in oktober I saw Christmas products in butikkerne (the shops), and people started complaing it was too early! 🙂

Tomorrow, when we officially enter ”julemåneden” (the Christmas month), all kinds of calendars help Danish børn og voksne (children and adults) count and overleve (survive) those dreadful 24 days until juleaften (Christmas Eve):

  • julekalender – a daily tv show that is often accompanied by a paper calendar where you open a luge/låge (both meaning ”hatch”) to find a new picture each day
  • chokoladejulekalender – a paper calendar with a daily piece of chocolate
  • kalenderlys – a candle with the numbers from 1 to 24; each day you ”burn away” the date
  • pakkekalender – a special gift calendar parents make for their children. Each morgen (morning), there’s a new pakke (parcel)!
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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.